Hello and welcome to my world. My name is Sunny Crittenden and I guess if you’re on this page, then you’d like to know a little bit about me, although I’ve been around long enough that I’d think you’d all know me by now, but if you’re new, here goes…
Despite the fact that I write about myself and my life just about every single day, I find it very difficult to write a proper bio. Honestly, what I tell people is that I’m just some unimportant random chick on the internet who wastes bandwidth with her words and pictures. I wish I had the self-esteem to spin that sentiment in a more positive way, but the fact is I don’t. I used to though. Once upon a time I was both the “panty girl” for a Canadian indie band called Scratching Post, running around in my underwear and dancing on stage in front of hundreds of people and arguably, a notable webcam personality here on these fine internets, getting naked for and interacting with thousands of people on my own site and Camwhores.com. But somewhere along the line, and I really wish I knew where, I lost something – but I’m in the process of getting it back. Even though I’ve been knocked down over and over during the last few years, I’m on my way to becoming “me” again and it feels damn good.
[Sidenote (15/07/2012): You should probably read this page now, because after I wrote this bio, things kinda went to shit.]
Probably the biggest thing to know about me is that I’m agoraphobic which means I have a fear of the outside world and I really only leave my house once or twice a month on any consistent basis, usually to see my shrink or buy art supplies. I’ve been doing immersion therapy to tackle this fear and I’m now at the point where I can drive to the post office in the middle of the night to get the mail. More recently I discovered that as long as someone’s with me, I can go to the pharmacy to pick up my own prescriptions and I can go to the post office to mail my own packages. Also, in a pinch, as long as someone else is driving and comes with me, I can go to the grocery store and do small-scale shopping. These all probably seem like minor things to the casual observer, but in my world, a world that’s been very isolated for a very long time, they’re actually pretty major.
[Sidenote (15/07/2012): I can actually do a lot more than that now which I talk about in my blog sometimes and the progress I'll eventually update here.]
I am also bipolar. I had a psychotic break in March 2006 and was diagnosed with bipolar I a year later. Along with all of this I have generalized anxiety disorder and the diagnosis and treatment process for all of the above has been rough. I’ve literally been on every mood stabilizer known to man and went through psychiatric medication hell for about 3 years before finally settling on a Ziprasidone/Gabapentin/Welbutrin/Clonazepam cocktail with Lorazepam as needed for panic symptoms and agitation.
But I am not my mental illness, oh no, I’m so much more than that right? Well I guess that’s true, although my mental illness has been on the forefront in recent years and it’s easy to forget that you’re more than that.
But I am more than that. When I’m not single-handedly running the entire internet from my home office, I’m creating art which I sell on Etsy. I’ve been painting seriously for 10 years, but as they say, I’ve been an artist my whole life. My style these days is mostly big-eyed girls in various scenarios and temperaments but traditionally my work has run the gamut of styles and mediums, from surreal fetuses on canvas to wooden art boxes. I’m not an artist who produces a lot of work and in fact I don’t even create every day, but there is always a painting on the go that I work on in between doing other things. Other artists have advised me to create more, to churn out more, to become an art machine, but I prefer to create at my own pace to ensure a quality piece that a lot of thought went into than anything else. I’ve also been advised to only create what will sell and I think that’s kind of crap advice too. I create what I want to create when I want to create it and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.
What else is there to know about me? Well, I turned 33 years old on March 1st and that makes me a Pisces even though I kinda think astrology is crap. I’m married to a man named Blake who’s the most amazing human being I’ve ever known, whose patience and loyalty inspire me on a daily basis. He’s originally from Michigan, USA and we met on the internet, courtesy of the Scratching Post message board. He moved here and we got married in 2002 and we’ve been partners in crime ever since.
I am the mother of Madison (14) and Wes (9), two kids who have made me see the world differently and who remind me every single day both of how much they love me, but also that art is my path. I usually do my painting at night when everyone’s asleep, so Blake and the kids wake up and it’s like an art show on the coffee table in my office in the morning. My kids’ friends come over and marvel at what I’ve done and inquire about how much of their allowances they’d have to give up in order to own a Sunny Crittenden original. It warms my heart.
[Sidenote: (15/07/2012): The picture on the right is my mom with the kids on Madison's graduation (from grade 8) day. I know it looks like a prom dress or something but it's what she wanted and it looked okay so...anyway, my mom is a huge part of our lives and I blog about her often.]
Both of my kids have their very own strong personalities which come through (I hope) when I write about them. Madison is more conscious of my site and the fact that I have an audience so she chooses to remain more private about her life and prefers to screen the media I put up of her, while Wes, who is also conscious of these things, wants me to make videos and pictures of him for the world to see. In this respect, they are almost polar opposites.
My other “kids” are of the fur-covered variety. The leader of the pack is Pixel Cat who came to us in a litter of very sick strays. It’s kind of a long story, but Pixel only has a nubbin of a tail, kind of like a fluffy bunny’s. The litter was found, with their mother, under the back concrete steps of a friend of mine and they were getting in and out through a crack in the side. All of the kittens but one, when they came to us, has bloody, infected stumps where their tails used to be, leading us to believe that a fox or something had maybe chased the kittens into the crack of the stairs, only nipping the ends of their tails. The kittens were so sick and full of worms that they were beyond my ability to care for them so all but two (plus their mother) had to be sent to the SPCA. The two we kept, we named Digit and Pixel and we had them fully treated by the vet and all was good until they were about a year old. That was when Digit got hit by a car, leaving only Pixel who now never leaves our yard. Pixel is definitely an only cat kinda cat and we have no plans of becoming a multi-cat household.
Next up is Hoover Dog who came to us by way of an ad on FreeCycle when he was 5 months old. His former owners simply didn’t have the time for him and he spent most of his time in a crate, even when the family was home. Hoover took a lot of training in the beginning to become the amazing dog he is now, but every moment has been worth it as he’s just a great dog. We got him in September 2005, making him the oldest of our furry family.
And finally we have my big sucky Lucky. In the fall of 2008 I had sold a few paintings and had some extra money and my shrink had brought up the idea of an “emotional support animal” to take with me on my immersion therapy trips. I watched the local SPCA website for a few weeks and finally a dog I liked came up, so we went to the shelter to take a look at it but it was gone when we got there. Behind the counter was this beautiful, blonde husky-x who kept trying to put his paws on the counter to see over it and his eyes were so full of mischief that I fell in love with him immediately. My friend Alex and I took him outside for a walk and he was excellent on the leash, so I decided to pursue adoption right then and there. His only drawback? Really bad separation anxiety. But that was okay because I’m home all day anyway and they said that with time he’d be okay being left home alone with another dog in the house. Well, as with Hoover, it was a very long process including one broken bay window and him leaving me stranded in the middle of town on our first voyage out, but he can now be left home alone and he accompanies me on my midnight trips to the post office. It’s doubtful that I’ll ever be able to keep him tied up outside of a store without him slipping his collar and running home, but we’re working on it.
All of us live in a little town north of Barrie, Ontario, called Elmvale, population 2000. We moved here because of Blake’s job but now Blake works in Toronto so we’re hoping to move closer to the Greater Toronto Area as soon as possible. It’s all really up in the air right now, but basically we’re really starting to feel the confines of being in such a small place and both of our professions (he’s in IT) are pulling us closer to the city.
So I guess that’s the basics of who I am. Slightly neurotic, questionable mental health, lover of nature and beauty, homebound but with a great support system.